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On Sex in Hindu Way of Life

Sudhir Kakar, a psychoanalyst and writer from Goa, discusses sex in Hindu way of life in his short article in On Faith of Washington Post.

Some excerpts:
..many wonder that if the sexual act in Hindu religious tradition does not lie outside but within the holiness of life, then why are contemporary Indians so embarrassed by Khajuraho’s sculptures and feel the need to explain them away in convoluted religious metaphors and symbols or to dismiss them as a product of a ‘degenerate’ era? 
The answer is that since centuries Hinduism has also set a high value on the ascetic ideal and the virtues of celibacy. There is a whole mythology around semen, shared by Hindu saint and sinner alike, which sees its emission as enervating, a debilitating waste of vitality and essential energy. In the Hindu theory of sublimation, if semen is retained, it can be transformed into a source of creativity and spiritual power. 
The ascetic ideal, too, is quintessentially Indian, perennially in competition with the erotic one for possession of the Indian soul. Although the ascetic ideal, reinforced by the Victorian morality of India’s British colonial rulers, held sway for many centuries, today there are again signs of a change, a tentative re-emergence of the erotic in upper class urban elite.

This change, spurred by the globalization of communications, is evident in the Indian media, especially in the proliferation of magazines that celebrate the sensual and the erotic.